Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Life on the Leash by Victoria Schade

It seems like forever since I've read something a bit lighter with a touch of romance. Gallery/Simon & Schuster sent me an ARC of this novel, and I'm so glad they knew I needed a novel about dogs, friendship, and romance before I realized it myself. 

Cora Bellamy is an ex-corporate woman who has taken her passion and natural talent for dog training and created a full-time business in the Washington, D.C. area. Her main squeeze, Fritz, is adorable, as are all the dogs she trains for well-to-do clients. Cora's world is filled with some lovely people: her roommate Maggie, their friend Darnell, and Cora's client Fran. Then there's the delicious Charlie, boyfriend of one of Cora's clients, and owner of Oliver, a dog in need of training. 

Charlie's a hottie, and he knows it. Cora is attracted, but obviously he's taken! Is he flirting with her, or is she reading him wrong? Meanwhile, Eli, a charming, quirky gentleman, is crushing on Cora, but she's got him in the friend zone. Will her hormones choose Charlie, who's clearly wrong for her, or will Eli win the day? 

Cora's chance at fame comes with the chance to audition for a new dog training show. It's her life passion, and she's damn good at it. But being on national tv is something she's not so sure about. Will what comes naturally to her--that effortless bond with dogs, translate onto film? 

I liked Cora, just hated that she let her hormones override common sense and her douche-meter. The many dogs she trains are a big part of the novel, and they are all delightful and distinctly different in personality. Cora's got a pretty great life, no doubt. But as always, change comes when it's least expected, and that's exactly what happens to Cora. I don't know much about dog training, and even though it's a big part of this novel, it's not dry and boring. There is clearly some author experience (Victoria is a dog trainer) shining through, and that made Cora a credible character. 

Love dogs? I do. I can't wait for the day when I have the space and time to have a dog again. I grew up with dogs, and haven't lived with one since my early 20's. Someday...

Rating:  4/6 for a novel full of dogs, delightful supporting characters (with a cad and an evil dog owner for contrast), a strong and charming central character, and a romance that doesn't happen quickly, but takes some time. You don't have to be a dog lover to enjoy this refreshing read. 

Available in paperback and ebook.  Thank you Gallery/Simon & Schuster for the ARC! 

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